Why the switch from the track to marathon running was not easy for Olympian Galen Rupp


Galen Rupp has quite the track record (literally).

He will go down as one of the greatest distance runners in Oregon Duck history. Rupp became the first person ever to win six NCAA distance races in the same calendar year when he captured the 2008 NCAA Cross Country crown, the 2009 NCAA Indoor 3,000 meter, 5,000 meter and distance medley titles and the 2009 NCAA Outdoor 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

But the Portland, Oregon alum, who ran track at Central Catholic High School before running for the University of Oregon, made quite the change from the track to marathon running. This change wasn’t easy.

I enjoy the training for the marathon. It was really hard for me, at first, to think about leaving the track. That was what my whole identity was… but I love it… — Galen Rupp

Any change as an athlete is difficult, but Rupp found a real passion for marathon running, even if it took some time. 

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Here is a glimpse of Rupp’s Track & Field resume:

Olympic Experience

  • Three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016); two-time Olympic medalist (silver, bronze)
  • Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 5th (10,000m); bronze (marathon)
  • London 2012 Olympic Games, silver (10,000m); 7th (5,000m)
  • Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 13th (10,000m)

World Championship Experience

  • Most recent: 2015 – 5th (5,000m, 10,000m)
  • Years of participation: Outdoor – 2009 (10,000m); 2011 (5,000m, 10,000m); 2013 (5,000m, 10,000m); 2015 (5,000m, 10,000m, 5,000m); Indoor – 2010 (3,000m); 2014 (3,000m)
  • Top finish: 4th (10,000m) – 2013

Rupp, along with the rest of the world’s Olympians, will have to wait to run with the rest of Team USA as the 2020 Olympics have been pushed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Summer Olympics will begin on Friday, July 23 - Sunday, August 8.

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